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Southwest Airlines Motivational Profile

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Southwest Airlines’ Motivational Profile
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Southwest Airlines’ Motivational Profile
According to Merriam-Webster (2011), the definition of motivation is “a motivating force, stimulus, or influence” (p. 1). Based on Johmarshall Reeve’s Understanding Motivation and Emotion, this definition is widely customary by many psychologists, but what psychologists cannot agree on is what causes motivation. In fact, this topic has been on a rollercoaster ride over many decades by gaining and losing popularity of psychologists. Keeping of this in mind, some of today’s top companies keep motivation near and dear to everything that they do. The chosen organization for this research is Southwest Airlines, and the following paragraphs will take a close look at the history of the organization, corporate culture, management, and the motivational strategies used. The History of Southwest Airlines When many people today think of flying in aircrafts, they do not realize that this mode of transportation started only 107 years ago with Wilbur and Orville Wright. Only 64 years later in 1967 Southwest Airlines, known as Air Southwest incorporated, and applied for license to fly (Southwest Airlines, 2011, p.1).
1971 Through 1981 Numerous legal battles with Continental Airlines and two other airlines at the time occurred in the Texas State Court and Texas Supreme Court from February 21, 1968 to June 17, 1971. The next day, June 18, 1971, marked the first day a Southwest Airline flight flew, and went from Dallas to San Antonio for a cost of $20 for a one-way trip. More flights to more locations kept profit increasing and by the end of 1981, Southwest Airlines had a net income of more than 34 million dollars (Southwest Airlines, 2011, pp.1-2).
1982 Through 1989 On the 11-year anniversary in 1982, Southwest charged only $11 for a one-way trip to any of its locations. The end of 1989 marked some astonishing figures for Southwest because they had a net income of more than 72 million dollars and according to Southwest Airlines (2011), “Southwest airlines reaches major carrier status in 1989! The Department of Transportation (DOT) defines Southwest airlines as a major airline whose operating revenues exceed $1 billion in a 12-month period” (p. 2).
1990 Through1999 Throughout the 1990s, Southwest airlines made some amazing milestones. One that stands out is their Kids Fly Free campaign where anyone who was 17 years or younger could fly free with at least one adult accompanying him or her from August 12, 1991 to September 8, 1992. In 1993, Southwest was named one of the 100 best companies to work for in America (Southwest, 2011, p. 3). For the remainder of the 1990s, Southwest Airlines continued to grow and at an extremely rapid pace. According to Southwest (2011),” by December 31, 1999, Southwest Airlines had a net income of $474,378,000 and had flown more than 57,500,213 passengers” (p. 4).
2000 Through 2006 Although 2001 was a tough year, all Americans and every organization because of the terrorist attack on September 11. Southwest maintained profitability and in February 2002, “the airline was ranked second in America's Most Admired Companies and the #1 Airline for 2001 by Fortune Magazine” (Southwest, 2011, p. 5). Through the next few years, Southwest Airlines’ profitability was on a rollercoaster because the new airline safety requirements by the federal government and Transportation Security Agency (TSA). However, in 2006, Southwest celebrated 35 years of flying and ended the year with a net income of $499 million and employed 32,664 personnel (Southwest, 2011, p. 5)
2007 Through Present Over the last five years, the net income has seen a drop of nearly 50 million dollars (Yahoo Finance, 2011, p. 1), which relates to the poor economic levels in America today. Additionally, there have been a few headline articles such as the April 4, 2011, New York Times’ article, Hole in Southwest Jet Attributed to Cracks, describing how a massive hole ripped open midflight during a flight from Phoenix to Sacramento (New York Times, 2011, p. 1). Southwest Corporate Culture and Management According to the Co-Founder and Chairperson of Southwest Airlines, Herbert Kelleher (n.d.), "Culture is the glue that holds our organization together. It encompasses beliefs, expectations, norms, rituals, communication patterns, symbols, heroes, and reward structures. Culture is not about magic formulas and secret plans; it is a combination of a thousand things" (p. 1). Culture is the shared values and practices of the company’s employees. Herbert D. Kelleher’s leadership helped to shape Southwest Airline’s culture. Spontaneity, competitiveness, and energy, characteristics of Kelleher’s personality had a strong influence on Southwest airlines culture. Love, fun, and efficiency are the themes of the airlines culture and Kelleher’s ability to name the majority of the employees lends to the theme. He believes in and treats the employees as a lovely and loving family (Hoffer Gittell, 2003). Dedication and loyalty are the traits Kelleher receives from his employees because of his kindness stemming from the company’s values that encompass concern, respect, and caring for employees and customers (BCLC, n.d.).
Southwest develops its culture and reputation from the inside out. Nurturing a happy workforce, Southwest believes, is the key to customers returning to their airline. They believe employees come first and customers come second, as a culture company because of its ability to sustain operations by implementing and using its core culture, thus obtaining profit, and loyalty for their customers (Unknown, n.d.).
Hoffer Gittell (2009), "Southwest's most powerful organizational competency--the "secret ingredient" that makes it so distinctive--is its ability to build and sustain high performance relationships among managers, employees, unions, and suppliers. These relationships are characterized by shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect” (The Southwest Airlines Way: Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance).
Southwest airlines management has an effective execution of strategic management and marketing, including leadership, distribution of resources, importance of employee satisfaction, and importance of customer value (Unknown, n.d.). Kelleher’s leadership style encompasses his involvement with the operations of the airline and his connection with his employees, building teamwork, and motivation.
Although management positions are lean and he or she is productive, individuals gain compensation accordingly (Brancatelli, 2008). Southwest Airlines has the lowest cost in the industry but does not sacrifice quality in an attempt to maintain this status. The company’s aircraft is more efficient concerning the cost of operation because of the youth of the fleet. Fewer delays and less mechanical issues are a direct result from the age of the fleet.
The airline places an emphasis on lower fares and on-time arrivals that can be attributed to their use of a linear, point-to-point network without an airport hub (Tierney & Kuby, 2008). Southwest airlines fleet has very little downtime as opposed to the megacarriers with the hub-and-spoke network because passengers have to change planes at the hub of the megacarriers causing downtime (Tierney & Kuby, 2008).
In any industry, motivating employees is a crucial part of retaining good employees. Employees are always looking for what company offers the best opportunities from compensation, benefits, and training for further meant in that company. Companies use different motivational strategies to leverage employees and keep them motivated to succeed in their careers. The key to any successful business is to have happy employees, which in turn yields happy customers. Those happy customers continue to spend money with that company and so goes the business circle of life at Southwest Airlines.
Motivational Strategies
At Southwest Airlines, they use many motivational strategies to motivate their employees. It starts with the hiring process. Applicants are put through a strenuous selection process; Southwest focuses on obtaining people with right attitudes. The belief of Southwest is that they teach skills but not attitude. The kind of attributes that Southwest is looking for in employees is positive attitudes, positive self-image, internal locus of control, and highly conscientious. Southwest also provides a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth in training programs and learning opportunities. A better way to be management within the company one is working for by having the freedom to learn and grow-leadership training while working for Southwest. Putting employees first is a part of their mission statement. That in itself is a motivational strategy, as employees know that the company is concerned about making sure their employees are a top priority.
Motivational strategies at Southwest are also focused on benefits for the employee. Southwest Airlines employees, spouses of employees, children, and parents fly free on their flights. Not many companies blanket offer their service 100% free to not only their employees but also their immediate family. On top of that, employees are offered “Buddy Passes,” specifically for friends and extended family not covered under the employees’ free family privileges. Employees can earn a certain number of passes based on the number of hours they work. To top off these discounts/free flights, Southwest employees are also entitled to additional discounts including hotels, theme parks, and rental car companies. Southwest easily offers the employees flights at a discounted price and most gain satisfaction with this incentive but instead Southwest goes beyond to ensure the happiness of the employees. That is a motivational strategy. With any job employees have to plan for their future, Southwest knows that this is a top priority for their employees. The company offers a 401(k) plan, Profit Sharing plan, and a Stock Purchase plan. With any job, benefits of the job would not be complete without health benefits. Southwest offers a competitive health package that currently costs as little as $15 per month. Many amazing strategies the company offers that totally keeps employees motivated and is a superior benefit at the same time. Motivational strategies at Southwest are also focused on incentives for the employees. Southwest airline rewards makeover very big and very competitive with its new “Rapid Rewards” program. Rapid Rewards-members can redeem points on every seat, every day and on every flight with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. How merchandise incentives can improve morale, retention, recruiting, and all-around good will. Employee referral program-refer friends and family, employees participate in drawings to win computer systems, flight coupons, and gift certificates. Southwest also gives away Ford Explores for perfect attendance program. Southwest Airlines is an equal opportunity employer. Motivational strategies at Southwest are also focused on goals and objectives for their employees. Southwest has quality discount air travel. This company operates a low-cost business to offer low-cost fares to Southwest airline customers. Southwest has always and will continue to provide basic services in an efficient effective manner.
Motivational strategies at Southwest are also focused on stress management for their employees. The company’s stress debriefing protocol is to prevent or control stress, escape from it, or learn to adapt to it. Southwest offers a training course. Another way to reduce stress is redistributing work among colleagues, prioritizing, and delegating.
Positive Experience
As individuals reflect on Southwest Airlines, an analysis will confirm previous concepts and knowledge of how prestige the company is regarding employment and motivational success. Southwest Airlines is a superb model of societal innovation, which assists individuals in realizing his or her true potentials. Southwest Airlines has different benefits that are appealing to many people in search of employment. The airline offers discounted rates for individuals flying and not working, rewards for employees each quarter for performance, additional discounts at theme parks, hotels, and rental cars (Southwest Airlines, 2011). As individuals critically think and discuss Southwest Airlines motivational approaches to employees, people will observe many benefits for working in this business.
Intrinsic Motivation Southwest airlines use both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to motivate and reward employees. Intrinsic motivators include the satisfaction individuals obtain from learning, growing, and contributing to the world. These motivators make an individual enjoy a career at Southwest Airlines for a lifetime. “Southwest Airlines values our People and [his or her] goals. These are just a few of the many opportunities to learn and grow our Employees are provided” (Southwest Airlines, Para. 8). Individuals learn through classes and courses to employees to grow as a successful individual at the company. The company promotes from current employees before offering position to the public. Employees gain personal satisfaction as Southwest Airlines promotes and contributes to different community-based donations. “Employees have the option of making payroll deducted donations to this fund supporting our own Employees in times of trouble. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Employees donated $543,300 to Fellow Employees in need” (Southwest Airlines, Para. 10). A professional at Southwest Airlines, one can satisfy and continue to increase intrinsic motivation because of many personal rewards the company offers for employees. Individual will analyze the extrinsic motivators incorporated into this company’s employee package.
Extrinsic Motivators
As individuals view Southwest Airlines benefits, different criteria fall within this category. Southwest Airlines believe that each employee’s health is vital for maximum performance, therefore the company offers a massive health package, which payments can cost an employee as little as 15.00 a month (Southwest Airlines, Para. 6). These extra benefits will assist current employees but also entice new hires to begin a career at this company. The free flying for employees and family is a consideration when observing the extrinsic motivators for this company. Many people enjoy traveling and these incentives will allow each person to enjoy those flights with family members and friends. One will continue with analyzing the company and reflect on how successful Southwest Airlines remains with the use of motivational techniques with each employee.
Motivational Techniques
Southwest Airlines motivates employees by creating different types of incentives that will satisfy an individual either internally or externally. Each person is different and Southwest Airlines has many motivators to attract and retain diverse employees. These techniques are successful because each is different and continues to allow an employee to grow and develop with the company. The ability for a company to combine different motivational techniques will allow the company to motivate employees.
Employees and Improvement
Southwest Airlines motivational strategies concentrate mostly on the current employees. Individuals can observe new positions that are available for current employees prior to announcement to the public. The other incentives solely base upon the employment at the company. Each individual has superior benefits and potential professional growth in the company. Individuals can reflect upon Southwest Airlines as a superb company that takes care of employees. The practice of incorporating different types of motivators into the employee benefits is the best practice to keep good employees as well as motivate those employees to work harder. The current practices do not need any improvement because each is working for the company and employees to gain success in the business world.
Conclusion
Like many companies, Southwest Airlines knows the importance of motivation and has evidence of the importance of motivation in the history of the organization, corporate culture, management, and the motivational strategies used. Motivation plays a key role in any companies or organizations productivity. Southwest understands this and even includes the employees’ first concept in their mission statement. Southwest Airline’s rapid success in hard economic times is a testament to other companies about the importance of motivation in the workplace.

References
Avon, N. (2011). Southwest's Rewards Makeover 'Very Big'. Retrieved from http://blog.loyalnation.com/bid/64799/Southwest-s-Rewards-Makeover-Very-Big.
BCLC. (n.d.). Southwest's Secret to a Positive Corporate Culture: Its Employees. Retrieved from http://bclc.uschamber.com/about/companies/southwest-airlines
Brancatelli, J. (2008). Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/news/2008/07/portfolio_0708
Hoffer Gittell, J. (2003). ICMR. Retrieved from http://www.icmrindia.org/casestudies/catalogue/Human%20Resource%20and%20Organization%20Behavior/Southwest%20Airlines%20Organizational%20Culture.htm
Hoffer Gittell, J. (2009). Coaching & mentoring. Retrieved from http://www.coachingandmentoring.com/BookReviews/SouthwestAirlinesWay.htm
Kelleher, H. (n.d.). Southwest Airlines' Organizational Culture. Retrieved from http://www.icmrindia.org/casestudies/catalogue/Human%20Resource%20and%20Organi zation%20Behavior/Southwest%20Airlines%20Organizational%20Culture.htm
Merriam-Webster. (2011). Definition of Motivation. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/motivation
Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion. (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley
Renk, K. (2011). Incentive Marketing Association. Retrieved from http://www.incentivemarketing.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=39. Southwest Airlines. (2011). Our History-By Date. Retrieved from http://www.swamedia.com/channels/By-Date/pages/history-by-date
Southwest Airlines. (2011). Official Website. Retrieved from http://www.southwest.com
Southwest Airlines. (2011). Our Benefits. Retrieved from http://www.southwest.com/html/about-southwest/careers/benefits.html
Tierney, S. & Kuby, M. (2008). Airline and airport choice by passengers in multi-airport regions: The effect of Southwest Airlines. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&hid=3&sid=0d16f898-a3fc-493f-9ba5-eb50e8121b79%40sessionmgr10
Unknown. (n.d.) Strategy Management. Retrieved from http://ivythesis.typepad.com/term_paper_topics/2009/08/strategy-management-of-.html…...

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...Case study: Southwest Airlines 1. What I find impressive about this company. * Did not lay off any employees with the 9/11 crisis. * Attract passengers by flying convenient schedules and using low fares to do so. * They strive on getting customers to their designations on time. They basically target time and price sensitive customers. * Their willingness to fight to stay competitive and not be shut down by anybody. * The fact that Southwest airlines have been profitable since 1973. * Managers do not only work from their offices, but they move around between the employees and they listen to whatever anybody has to say. * Southwest encourages the employees to think ahead and be creative and solve a problem as they seem best. * Their cost saving strategies. * Their unconventional and attention-getting ads they use. 2. How I grade Southwest management I will give Southwest an 8 out of ten grade were 1 is weak and 10 is excellent. Likes and dislikes about the strategy Likes: * I like the low-cost/low-price strategy. It ensures that the company will be profitable and they reach their target market. * They keep their cost below those of their rivals. * They operate only Boeing 737’s to keep too minimize their inventory of spare parts and the maintenance employees training are simplified. * Using the internet as their main ticket selling device, it saves time and money for both the company and......

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Premium Essay

Southwest Airlines

...THE AIRLINE DEREGULATION EVOLUTION CONTINUES The Southwest Effect [pic] Prepared by: Randall D. Bennett James M. Craun Office of Aviation Analysis U.S. Department of Transportation May 1993 Table of Contents Major Findings 3 Southwest 4 Industry Structural Changes 5 The Southwest Effect 6 The importance of new entrants 8 Appendix A: Charts 10 Chart 1 10 Chart 2 10 Chart 3 11 Chart 4 11 Chart 5 12 Chart 6 12 Chart 7 13 Chart 8 13 Chart 9 14 Chart 10 14 Chart 11 15 Chart 12 16 Chart 13 16 Chart 14 17 Chart 15 17 Chart 16 18 Chart 17 18 Chart 18 19 Chart 19 19 Chart 20 20 Chart 21 20 Chart 22 21 Chart 23 21 Major Findings: The principal driving force behind dramatic fundamental changes that have occurred and will occur in the U.S. airline industry over the next few years is the dramatic growth of low-cost Southwest Airlines: • A return to profitability hinges on developing lower-cost services in short haul markets and increasing fares in longer-haul markets: • Other major airlines are giving up competing with Southwest's low-cost service for market share. Southwest's continuing expansion will force other airlines to bring about a major change in their cost structures by developing new, low-cost services in......

Words: 3574 - Pages: 15